A simple guide on how to prep, cook and freeze-dried chickpeas – dried chickpeas are cheaper and tastier than canned versions and a great store cupboard staple to have on-hand!
Chickpeas (also known as garbanzo beans) are one of my favorite legumes (okay, scratch that, probably THE favorite), and working with dried chickpeas is much easier than you think. In fact, within this blog post, I’ll be taking you through how to prepare dried chickpeas (by pre-soaking them), how to cook dried chickpeas, and then how to store and freeze them – and even what to do with the by-product (hello aquafaba!). All so simple that you’ll probably be wondering why you haven’t been doing it for years!
Once upon a time, I used to buy individual cans of chickpeas. Sure, even now I have an emergency can sitting in the back of my cupboard. But, when you use chickpeas as much as I do and realize not only how much cheaper it is using dried but also avoiding any nasty preservatives or additional salt content that can come along with canned versions, then it’s a win-win.
Plus, and I’ve found this really is no word of a lie, dried chickpeas that you’ve soaked and cooked at home really do taste better, in my opinion. To where now I basically buy all my ingredients dry and in bulk. In fact, I even have another guide on How to Prep, Cook and Freeze Dried Red Kidney Beans and pretty much always have some form of soaked beans in my apartment, ready to go.
Once prepared, these protein-packed legumes are used for so many delicious recipes too: Simple Fatteh (Pita with Herby Chickpeas and Yogurt), Easy Vegan Rainbow Falafels, Rainbow Hummus 6 ways, a Healthy Vegetable Chickpea Stew, and more. In fact, I have an extensive list of chickpea recipes and tutorials coming to the blog over this next month. So keep your eyes peeled.
How to prepare dried chickpeas
The first step to preparing any dried chickpea is to soak them and I’m not sure why, but the idea of this seemed really daunting when I first began using dried legumes. However, it couldn’t be much simpler.
Soaking the beans allows them to plump up and soften, usually soaking up enough water to grow 2-3 times their original size.
Note* It is worth noting that if you’re not using your dried chickpeas regularly and have a bag that’s been sitting in your pantry for months and months, then these tend to just not cook as well and can end up chalky/gritty when cooked. So, I like to buy just enough to keep me going for a month or two at a time.
Soaking the chickpeas is the first step and super simple. Rinse the chickpeas and place them in a large pan/ bowl.
Cover them with water (depending on how much you’re preparing, you always want to have enough water to allow the chickpeas to grow 2-3 times their size, and still be covered by water) and leave to soak for at least 8 hours or overnight – up to 12 hours.
One kilogram of dried chickpeas will yield two kilograms of cooked chickpeas on average. Although, there is also a method of soaking them for a couple of days and allowing them to ‘sprout’, much like how I did with the seeds when growing wheatgrass.
Keep in mind that the chickpeas will expand 2-3 times their size so make sure they are in a big container and there’s plenty of water, a few inches of water at least.
Also note, some people like to add a teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda (baking soda) to the soaking water – which can help the chickpeas soak up even more water and soften them – great for when you want to make a really creamy, smooth hummus. However, I’ll usually stick to plain water and a nice long soak.
Usually, 1 kg of dried chickpeas yields for me about 2 kg soaked chickpeas (12 cups). A can of chickpeas will yield 1 and a half cups (250 grams) when the chickpea water is drained, which means 1 kg of dried chickpeas will yield on average the equivalent of 8 cans.
The Quick Soak Method
I have to be honest, this isn’t something I normally do, because I feel like the longer soaking method just gives me better results. However, if you’re in a pinch and worried about leaving chickpeas for hours and hours then here is a ‘quick soak’ method for your dried chickpeas.
Start by placing the chickpeas into your large pot with an extra 2-3″ of water covering them. However, this time place the pot on your stovetop and bring them to boil for five minutes. Following that, remove them from the heat and leave them to soak for between 1- 1.5 hours and voila.
Once soaked, it’s time to cook the chickpeas (apart from in certain situations, like making delicious falafels, where the recipe uses them once soaked). Drain the soaked chickpeas and give them another rinse.
You can use this soaking water to water your plants, but this is NOT what we use for aquafaba – that’s the cooking liquid.
Place the soaked chickpeas in a large saucepan and cover with a few inches of water. Bring to a boil and let them cook for 30-40 minutes, until soft.
Cooking dried beans can vary in time somewhat. However, I’ve found that I always need a minimum of 30 minutes.
Note* Add salt if you like. I usually don’t as I will season the meals that I use the chickpeas in, so don’t want to over-consume sodium.
During the cooking process, a foam can appear on the top of the water. Scoop this out and discard it. Alternatively, add a spoonful of oil to the pan and this should reduce the foaming.
Once tender, drain the chickpeas. Keeping the cooking liquid if you want to use it as aquafaba.
How to store the Chickpeas cooking liquid
To store this liquid, leave it to cool entirely, transfer to an airtight container, and leave in the fridge for up to two weeks. You can then use this liquid as a vegan egg replacer and whip it up into beautiful white peaks. In fact, I have a DIY coming for you soon on exactly how to make and use aquafaba.
I always make these chickpeas in large batches so that they’re ready to go for a number of meals – so the next step is storing them. First, leave them to cool down completely.
Note* You can also use an Instant Pot for cooking your soaked chickpeas for reduced cook time. Use a 3:1 ratio of water to chickpeas ( i.e. 3 cups water per cup chickpeas), add your spoonful of oil to prevent the foaming, and then select high pressure (12 psi) for 10-15 minutes.
In the Fridge: Store in an airtight container in the fridge for 3-5 days.
In the freezer: If freezing the chickpeas, store in convenient portions in freezer-safe containers or reusable freezer bags for up to 3 months.
When I freeze them, I separate them in portions of 250 grams (1.5 cups). This is also equivalent to the “drained weight” of 1 can of chickpeas.
So, starting with 1 kg of dried chickpeas, after soaking and cooking them, I get 8 portions that I store in freezer-safe bags.
Using the Frozen Chickpeas
The last step is to use your frozen chickpeas and really it couldn’t be any simpler. Remove from the freezer and allow them to thaw then add them to meals while cooking, or reheat by themselves in a pot or in the microwave.
If you have any questions, feel free to ask them in the comments. You can also tag me in your recreations on Instagram @Alphafoodie.
How To Prep, Cook And Freeze Dried Chickpeas
- 2.2 pounds Dried chickpeas (or as much as you want)
To Soak The Chickpeas:
- Rinse the chickpeas and place in a large bowl.
- Cover the chickpeas with cold water and let them soak for at least 8 hours (overnight). The chickpeas will expand 2-3 times their size, so make sure to add enough water. *
- Drain and rinse the soaked chickpeas well. **/ ***
To Cook The Chickpeas:
- Place in a large saucepan and cover with water, leaving a couple extra inches.
- Bring to a boil and cook for about 30-40 minutes until soft.****
- During the cooking process, a foam can appear on the top of the water. Scoop this out and discard it. Alternatively, add a spoonful of oil to the pan and this should reduce the foaming.
- Once cooked, drain the chickpeas*****. Let them cool down completely before storing them.******
To Store them:
- Store in the fridge in an airtight container for 3-5 days.
- If freezing, separate in convenient portions and store in freezer-safe containers. Keep in the freezer for up to 3 months. 1 kg dried chickpeas will yield about 12 cups cooked chickpeas. You can freeze them in portions of 1.5 cups (250 g) which is also the "drained weight" of 1 can of chickpeas.
Using the Frozen Chickpeas:
- The last step is to use your frozen chickpeas and really it couldn't be any simpler. Remove from the freezer and allow to that then add them to meals while cooking, or reheat by themselves in a pot or in the microwave.
- It is worth noting that if you’re not using your dried chickpeas regularly and have a bag that’s been sitting in your pantry for months and months, then these tend just not to cook as well and can end up chalky/gritty when cooked. So, I like to buy just enough to keep me going for a month or two at a time.
- *There is also a method of soaking them for a couple of days and allowing them to ‘sprout’, much like how I did with the seeds when growing wheatgrass.
- Some people like to add a teaspoon of bicarb of soda ( baking soda) to the soaking water- which can help the chickpeas soak up even more water and soften them- great for when you want to make creamy, smooth hummus. However, I’ll usually stick to plain water and a nice long soak.